Archives for posts with tag: Bon Appetit

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It was Easter. It was (is) Pesach. It was a super moon.

As tradition dictates, I spent the Sunday that is Easter with my grandmother on Long Island. I’ve written a post I think each year about this and the various shenanigans we get into. For instance there was this retro easter cake debacle I wrote about four (!) years ago.

Earlier this week I was flipping through the latest Bon App and came across a recipe for a very springy Rhubarb Cake (p. 66 of the April 2015 version if you have the hard copy). That’s it! Perfect, I thought. I’d make that for my grandmother, a woman who loves tart rhubarb baked into pies and cakes.

But of course neither the Union Square Greenmarket nor the Park Slope Food Coop is carrying rhubarb yet. Duh. It’s the first week of April. I think it may be another two weeks away. I picked up the organic blueberries on sale at the coop for $2.99 a pint in a pinch, hoping it would be an adequate substitution.

The blueberry was a hit. I’d still like to try this in a few weeks with the season’s rhubarb but I will definitely make this version again.

P.S. – I reduced the sugar quotient from the original recipe because blueberries don’t need to be offset the way rhubarb does. I also substituted 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with spelt flour, because, well, regular flour is a little boring, and spelt flour has a subtle depth or nutty flavor I like.

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Blueberry Almond Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 8

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter*
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 pints blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (would be fine to use all-purpose flour only, 1 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you can’t find vanilla beans)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a tart pan (or small rectangular baking dish) and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, pulse the flours, almonds, baking powder, and salt until the almonds are finely ground.

Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Scrape the little black seeds from the vanilla bean and reserve the pod for another use like making vanilla-scented sugar. Using your electric mixer on high speed, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Don’t cheat. Add the eggs one at a time to fully incorporated and then some, about another 3 or 4 minutes.

Reducing the speed to low, add the dry ingredients, and then the yogurt. Fold in half of the blueberries (one pint) and pour into the pan. Arrange the remaining blueberries on top.

If using a tart pan place this on a baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape) and bake for approximately one hour, or until the cake is cooked through (comes clean with a toothpick) and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

*A note on butter: the quality of butter matters here. I use Kerrygold because it’s made with milk from grassfed cows and is the same price and sometimes cheaper than Kate’s butter from Maine.

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I know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t look like celery soup. Did y’all see the Koons show at the Whitney? Go see it before the Whitney closes forever and moves downtown. Yes, even if, like me, you think you are above it or have some (lots of) preconceived notion of his art. You will gain a broader appreciation for him and the fabrication of some of these objects. I think. Shout out to David Gordon for dragging my butt there on an early Saturday morning. Also, did you listen to this? Hilton Als interviewing Khandi Alexander, Thelma Golden, and Toni Morrison for Studio 360. Oh my, what are you waiting for?

Ok, soup. It’s early fall. Which is actually the best time to be at a farmer’s market in New York. The stalls are spilling over with eggplants, tomatoes, early brussels sprouts (we’re not capitalizing Brussels anymore right?), all sorts of greens, apple varieties, peppers, and squash. More on squash in a bit. There’s still corn, raspberries, celery, blueberries at one stall I saw. If you live in the five boroughs of NYC you have no excuse—the Union Square greenmarket is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  While you’re at it, bring your food scraps from your freezer, the compost station is at the northeast end of the market. When you’re done composting and purchasing pretzels and apples and tatsoi and fairy eggplant, stroll down Broadway to the Strand bookstore and spend time in there perusing. Seriously. I recommend. I did this Saturday and it was life affirming to be in a brick-and-mortar bookstore browsing, touching, dreaming, reading first pages. I mainly hung around cookbooks and new fiction with my bud @superdaniela.

Celery seems to be having a bit of an “it” moment in food don’t you think? Featured as the main ingredient in salty spicy salads; in celery tonics; in the last episode of Breaking Bad (ok, made that up), and of course, soups everywhere. In the spirit of things celery and fall, here is a quick and dirty celery soup. Ok, not that quick, not that dirty, but pretty darn basic. Some easy substitutions could make this vegetarian and vegan lickety split (i.e., substituting vegetable broth, using coconut cream instead of half and half…) This soup is velvety, rich, and smooth. The original recipe uses whole cream instead of half and half and more butter; I reduced both, but feel free to tinker/increase, as your palate desires.

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Celery Soup

Serves 4
adapted from BonApp

1 head celery, chopped
1 large potato, preferably waxy, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 tbsp butter or vegan fat like Earth Balance
Salt
3 cups low-sodium broth (chicken, vegetable)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Red chili flakes
Dash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup half and half
Olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt, to serve

Combine the celery, potato, onion, and butter in large saucepan over medium heat, season with salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 8–10 minutes. When the onions seem about cooked, add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for another 8–10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Let the soup cool down a little before transferring to your blender.

Add the dill, chili flakes, and dash of balsamic vinegar and blend the soup until smooth. Depending on how ocd you are you can strain the soup at this point, or just transfer it back to the saucepan. Add the half and half and stir until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Gradually bring the heat up a little if you’re serving right away. Serve in soup bowls with tops of celery, drizzle of olive oil, and sea salt.

**Bonus recipe**
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ginger and Chili
I made this the other night and shazam, I am going to make this all fall.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap two sweet potatoes in tin foil (poke with a fork first) and roast for 45 minutes to one hour until totally cooked through and soft. Do the same with a bulb of garlic—wrap in tin foil and toss in the oven—for maybe 30 minutes. Remove the soft meaty flesh of the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Remove one or two of the garlic cloves from the skin and mash into the potatoes. Combine with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice, finely chopped fresh ginger, red chili flakes, and sea salt. Mix well. Devour.

Below is a picture of me and my buddy Dan (sorry Dan forgot to get your permission first, if you hate this photo I’ll take it down!). We met our freshman year at Cornell so we’ve known each other a long time now. B/c we old. He just moved back here and that’s us in the JivamukTea Cafe taking a selfie for our friend Laura in Oakland. Hi Laura!

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One of the cool periodicals at last week’s Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1

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Three of the delicious pies at Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus, Brooklyn

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I run by here in the mornings, this guy is often fishing, Prospect Park Lake

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It is said that moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. Moving and cooking is particularly challenging. Your cutting boards are packed away. You can’t remember where you stashed your favorite knife. You tossed all the half-bags of flours, dried beans, and pastas from your pantry and need to start over. (I should’ve kept that buckwheat flour.)

But moving is a chance to start over, to recycle reams of old bills and pay stubs, donate books and embarrassing shoes worn to first job interviews, re-order surroundings and re-sort the mind. Packing is revealing. It had been three years since my last move, and this would be my fifth apartment in Brooklyn in nine years. I came across car registration paperwork from the city of Cambridge c. 2005; acceptance and rejection letters to grad school; final papers from my senior year of college. Stacks of business cards from a job I haven’t had in years! Why had I been holding onto this stuff all these apartments later? It’s interesting that, with each move, you become willing to throw more and more away. The half-life of my nostalgia seems to be about 8-10 years. So, yes, I’m just now tossing birthday cards from 2006 (not the pretty handmade ones) and more Verizon flip phones than I care to admit.

I spent days eating cheap takeout amid boxes and boxes, just like in the movies. And around Day 5 I’d had enough. I dug out a couple of pans and utensils and made my inaugural meal. Kosheri from the first Ottolenghi cookbook. A humble meal really. Basmati rice that’s toasted with cinnamon and nutmeg, mixed with lentils, and served either with a tomato sauce or yogurt and cucumbers. Topped off with crunchy fried onions, the best part. It tasted so good. I felt brought back to life a little.

I’ve never been to Glasserie in Greenpoint. And I moved to Ditmas Park which might as well be another country from North Brooklyn. There are probably more people between me and Greenpoint than in the entire state of Vermont. (Population of Vermont: roughly 600,000; population of Brooklyn: roughly 2 million). But one day I hope to eat there, after a long journey on the Q, then the L, then the G train. And once there, I will eat cardamom sugar buns, pickled prunes, pistachios with kaffir lime leaf. I hear their flaky bread is divine. So until I can make it to the old glass factory building on Commercial Street, this homemade version will have to do. Not bad for having moved one week ago.

Glasserie’s Flaky Bread
via Bon Appétit

1 tsp salt
3 c all-purpose flour (or 2 c all-p, 1 c whole wheat)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I used cultured butter) + more at room temp for brushing
Good crunchy sea salt, like Maldon
Olive oil

Combine the salt and flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix well. Add 3/4 c water and combine. Kneed the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, until the dough is shiny and soft. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in a warm spot for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces and shape into balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals (about 9″ in diameter). If the dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few additional minutes.

Brush the tops of the rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope then wind each rope around itself, creating a tight coil.

Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10″ rounds, no more than 1/8″ thick. Stack as you go, separating with parchment paper brushed with oil to make things easier.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. And one at a time, brush both sides of the dough with more room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with more sea salt.

Serve plain, with shakshuka, your favorite jam, avocado, labneh, hummus, the possibilities are endless really. Next time I’d toast some sesame and poppy seeds and add this to the dough before rolling out, or fresh herbs.

You can also roll out the coils and freeze, wrapped tightly, up to one month. Cook from frozen, adding an additional 1-2 minutes cooking time.

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